Thursday, June 28, 2012

Curry Out As Co-Host Of NBC's 'Today' Show

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

Ann Curry said a teary goodbye to her Today show colleagues and viewers Thursday as NBC prepared to announce her replacement, Savannah Guthrie, as early as Friday. Curry, 55, is exiting amid a ratings downturn at the still top-rated morning show and a perceived lack of chemistry with co-host Matt Lauer. Her abrupt departure comes little more than a year after Curry -- the show's former news reader -- took over for Meredith Vieira.

"This is not as I expected, to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but I am also grateful," she said, choking up with emotion as she announced the news at 8:50 a.m., without the congratulatory tributes that accompanied Vieira's sendoff. "For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball to the finish line, but man, I did try."

As she had told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview Wednesday, Curry said on air she has won "some fancy new titles, which essentially means I'm going to get tickets to every big story we want to cover" on various NBC News shows, including Today. Lauer told her "you have the biggest heart in the business," and, with weatherman Al Roker and news anchor Natalie Morales, recounted some of her big stories. She hugged Roker, and Morales held her hand.

"It's not goodbye, not by a long shot," said Lauer, adding that "you'll be with us at the Olympics" next month. But no one explained the reason for Curry's departure or hinted at her successor.

An NBC executive with knowledge of its plans but not authorized to speak on the record confirmed that Guthrie, 40, has won the job. A lawyer, NBC's chief legal analyst and co-host of Today's third hour, she had been considered the heir apparent for several weeks as speculation about Curry's future intensified.

"She's got the right stuff," says Andrew Tyndall, who analyzes network news for The Tyndall Report. "She's clearly smart ... and very good live on air. She has the touch you need on a morning show, the ability to switch between being serious and being lighthearted, in a way that Ann Curry didn't."
In her USA TODAY interview, Curry expressed dismay that she hadn't been given sufficient time to work out the "kinks" she said plagued every new co-host on the show, one of TV's most profitable. She said it was her "dream job, and I would be lying if I said it was easy to leave."

But NBC's margin of victory over ABC's Good Morning America was cut in half this season, and GMA won four weeks outright in late spring, ending Today's unprecedented 16-year streak. Today retains an unbroken string of victories among viewers 25 to 54, the target audience for news advertisers.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ann Curry Expected To Announce Departure Thursday From "Today"

By Frank Macek

The rumor mills are a buzzin' this evening as the New York Times is reporting that "Today" show co-host Ann Curry will likely announce her departure from the show on Thursday morning.

Sources says NBC has been in talks with Curry about vacating her chair beside Matt Lauer who recently signed a new contract to continue with the show.

Ratings are likely to blame as "Today" has seen the gap tighten between NBC's morning cash cow and ABC's "Good Morning America." However Nielsen ratings show ratings have improved for "Today" since the news first got out about NBC's intentions to dump Curry.

NBC is said to have its eyes set on Savannah Guthrie, who is widely expected to replace Curry. Guthrie has been serving as co-host of the 9am hour of "Today" with Natalie Morales and Al Roker, as well as the show's Chief Legal Editor.

Stay tuned on this one.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Russ Mitchell Honored By National Association of Black Journalists

Russ Mitchell
By Frank Macek

Channel 3 Evening 6 & 11 PM Anchor and Manging Editor Russ Mitchell has been honored with two Salute to Excellence Awards that were awarded at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) conference last week in  New Orleans.

Russ joined Channel 3 News earlier this year from CBS News where he worked for nearly 20 years, first as co-anchor of Up to the Minute, an original co-anchor on Saturday Early Show and most recently anchor of the CBS Sunday Night News and primary substitute for Scott Pelley.

His two NABJ awards were earned last year at CBS.

The first was in the "Television - General Assignment: Short Form" category for "Anniston Freedom Riders Anniversary", along with his CBS News colleagues Alturo Rhymes, Patricia Shevlin and Jared Kindestin.

The second award was in the "Television - Feature: Long Form" category for "Harry Belafonte," a segment that aired on CBS News Sunday Morning.

Russ tells the Director's Cut Blog that he and the team had a great time doing both of those stories. "I remember telling Harry Belafonte about a story my mother shared with me," says Mitchell. "Apparently, when I was a kid some woman who clearly needed glasses told my mother that I looked just like Harry Belafonte. When I told Harry the story he leaned over and said, 'Your mother never told you about us, did she?' It was a funny moment from a legendary guy."

Congratulations to Russ.

Promo: Decision 2012

Ohio is a crucial state in the 2012 Presidential election and Channel 3 is the place to be for Northeast Ohio's best political coverage.

Click to watch our on-air promo:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Betsy Kling Named 2012 Circle Of Caring Honoree

Betsy Kling
Congratulations to WKYC Chief Meteorologist Betsy Kling for being named 2012 Hattie Larlham Circle of Caring Honoree.

An Ohio native, born and raised in Copley, Betsy Kling has given much of her time and talent to Hattie Larlham. Since 2004, she has hosted the Have a Heart for Hattie Fashion Show and Luncheon and the Circle of Caring gala.

Betsy has also twice hosted a televised auction benefiting Hattie Larlham. These commitments to Hattie Larlham and the children and adults with developmental disabilities it serves, earned Betsy the Media Award for Service in 2005.

Betsy is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has earned the prestigious seal of approval from both organizations. Betsy Kling joined the WKYC news team in March 2003.

To secure you, your company’s or your organization’s sponsorship of the 2012 Circle of Caring, please contact Hattie Larlham for the Circle of Caring sponsorship opportunities.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NBC Discussing Plan To Remove Ann Curry As Host

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
David Bauder, AP Television Writer

Only a year after becoming Matt Lauer's co-host on NBC's "Today" show, Ann Curry may soon be losing that job.

A source with knowledge of the show who spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the matter said Wednesday that NBC is discussing a plan to ease Curry out of the co-hosting role. The New York Times first reported these discussions on Wednesday.

Savannah Guthrie, who co-hosts the show's third hour, is at the top of the list of Curry's possible replacements. NBC News executives did not immediately return requests for comment.

Today" lost in the ratings this spring for the first time since 1995 after a string of 852 consecutive weeks. Since then, "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America" have been trading wins

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jim Donovan Celebrates 1-Year Transplant Anniversary

CLEVELAND -- It's been one year since Channel 3 News and Sports Anchor Jim Donovan underwent a life changing operation.

Today, on the one-year anniversary, he is sharing his story as a way of giving thanks to his medical team at UH and all the listeners and viewers who supported him during his journey.

In June 2011, Jim had a bone marrow transplant to knock out leukemia. Unknown to most viewers and even colleagues, he had quietly battled the disease for nearly a decade.

When Jim announced his leave of absence to WKYC viewers, he promised he would be back better than ever after beating his cancer. True to his word, just months after the procedure Jim returned to the radio broadcast booth for the Cleveland Browns games and returned to WKYC shortly thereafter.

In this 3-part series for Channel 3 News at 6, 7 and 11 p.m., Jim takes us back to University Hospitals to thank the doctor, nurses and administrators who helped him through the bone marrow transplant and the most difficult chapter of his life. He also gives thanks for the hundreds of emails and cards sent by listeners and viewers during his recovery.

It's a deeply personal look at 365 days that changed Jim's life and ultimately put him back on the road to health.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

NBC Unveils Its Fall Season Premiere Dates on WKYC

NBC is rolling out its fall season lineup with the help of the Olympics rings.

NBC announced Thursday that sneak peeks of its new prime-time schedule will piggyback on network coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The unveiling will begin with commercial-free previews of NBC's new comedies "Go On" on August 8, after the evening's Olympics coverage, and of "Animal Practice" on August 12, following the Olympics' Closing Ceremonies.

"Go On" and another comedy, "The New Normal," premiere in their regular time slots on Sept. 11, with a sneak peek of the comedy "Guys With Kids" airing Sept. 12.

The drama "Revolution" premieres on Sept. 17 and "Chicago Fire" debuts on Oct. 10.

  • September 5: NFL Kickoff Special 2012 (regular season) at 730 pm; Sunday Night Football (regular season) at 830 pm
  • September 9: Football Night in America (regular day/time) at 7 pm; Sunday Night Football (regular day/time) at 815 pm
  • September 10: The Voice at 8 pm
  • September 11: Go On (time period debut) at 9 pm; The New Normal at 930 pm; Parenthood at 10 pm 
  • September 12: Guys with Kids (sneak peak following America's Got Talent) at 10 pm
  • September 13: America's Got Talent (season finale)
  • September 14: Grimm (time period debut) at 9 pm
  • September 17: Revolution at 10 pm
  • September 20: Up All Night at 830 pm; The Office at 9 pm; Parks and Recreation at 930 pm
  • September 26: Animal Practice (time period debut) at 8 pm; Guys with Kids (time period debut) at 830 pm; Law & Order: SVU (two-hour premiere) at 9 pm
  • October 4: 30 Rock at 8 pm
  • October 10: Chicago Fire at 10 pm
  • October 19: Whitney at 8 pm; Community at 830 pm 
Source: The Associated Press

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Director's Cut 2 Launches To Cover Other TV News

On Tuesday, June 13th, we further expanded our evil Macek Media Empire by launching the "Director's Cut 2" blog.

This new blog will feature stories about other local and national television, cable, satellite and digital technology from our WKYC partnerships with The Associated Press, NBC, and Gannett Broadcasting and Community Publishing.

Many of the articles will come from our partners, but we'll continue to write local stories when necessary. Our research has found there is a wider audience available for other types of television content which we hope to provide on DC 2.

Of course, the original Director's Cut Blog will continue as usual focusing on events and happenings at WKYC, Channel 3.

And Macek Media Watch on Facebook will focus more on local broadcasting including radio, television and print.

Here are the links for our blogs and platforms:

Preview: Jim's Journey - Thursday at 7 PM

It's been one year since our Jim Donovan underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. We are so thankful and blessed to be able to share his story with you. Come along tomorrow night at 7pm as he visits the doctors and nurses who helped save his life and see the special message he has for you.

Here's a preview of the story coming up Thursday Night:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WKYC Rolls Out Social TV Experience In Cleveland

ConnecTV today announces the largest-ever rollout of a social media platform for television with backing by the leading U.S. broadcast companies.

The platform synchronizes social engagement, complementary content and program promotions with television programming from any source, in any market across national cable networks, regional sports networks and local stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and MyNetworkTV. The coast-to-coast rollout establishes ConnecTV as the most dynamic and engaging social network for television viewers in the U.S.

How ConnecTV works: 
  • ConnecTV is the only social network that works across all channels and all shows for both real-time and time-shifted television viewing.
  • ConnecTV delivers a rich content experience that syncs instantly with the show you’re watching and delivers complementary play‐by‐play stats, news, information and quotes that can be shared with friends and followers—all with a single touch.
  • Viewers can also invite specific friends to join them for “viewing parties” and chat about their favorite shows and sporting events. o Seamless integration with Twitter and Facebook allows users to connect and organize their friends, favorite shows and social engagement all focused on TV.
  • ConnecTV uses a combination of content recognition algorithms, closed caption and a diverse mix of more than 100 data sources to drive the accuracy, relevancy and speed of synchronization with television programming.
  • ConnecTV is available as a free download for the iPad from the Apple App Store, or for any PC browser at ConnecTV will be introducing versions for the iPhone and Android smartphone and tablets in the next 45 days. 
“Local engagement is at the heart of all social media, from Twitter to Facebook to Groupon,” said ConnecTV Co-Founder Ian Aaron. “ConnecTV is the only social TV network with a true investment in the local viewing experience and an unparalleled strategic partnership with the leading media companies in America.”

Viewers of ConnecTV on partner stations beginning with the top 40 markets will immediately receive additional social television benefits that include synchronization of local news, weather, sports and entertainment programming along with social polls. A total of 85 local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and MyNetworkTV stations will be integrated into the ConnecTV experience at launch with plans in place to grow to 215 stations in communities across America.

“Television programming is driving the social media conversation, but those conversations continue to be fragmented across myriad platforms and provide little local context,” said Alan Frank, President and CEO of Post Newsweek Stations on behalf of Pearl.

“We see ConnecTV as a way for our communities to come together in a single, standardized digital extension of our broadcast platforms, and engage in dialogue around the information and entertainment most relevant to them.”

ConnecTV partners include a consortium of nine leading U.S. television broadcast groups known as Pearl. The companies include: Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media. Together, Pearl broadcast partners represent more than 200 local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliate stations in 45 of the top 50 markets reaching 76 million households. As part of their ConnecTV partnership, Pearl will expand and coordinate the affiliate base of participating local broadcasters, integrate local content, deliver on-air, on-screen and on-line promotions and sell complementary second screen advertising that synchronizes with the broadcast.

The combined technical capabilities of the ConnecTV platform provide a unique social and content user experience designed to transform television into a highly interactive second screen experience, in tandem with a live or time-shifted program. While all ConnecTV users will enjoy an extraordinary viewing experience, TV fans who watch along with ConnecTV’s local partner stations will have the advantage of heightened benefits, including:
  • Social conversations sparked locally by on-air personalities and station production staff surrounding news, sports and entertainment topics of the day.
  • Special companion content that is synced to local broadcast news, sports and entertainment programming.
  • ConnecTV instant “TalkBack” social polls mirroring those on the air to increase communication with local audiences.
  • Relevant local marketing that is synched to television advertising spots, or engages the “viewser” in new ways that activate both national and local marketing campaigns.
  • Simultaneous promotions of upcoming news stories, local specials and national programming on both the main and second screens.
Click on the video for our on-air promo:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Spotlight Feature: DVRs Shift Viewing Habits, And Ratings

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

The increasing usage of digital video recorders, which easily allow viewers to postpone viewing of their favorite shows, has vastly complicated the math of TV ratings, new Nielsen data shows.

And it explains how ABC's Modern Family ultimately eclipsed Fox's American Idol among key young-adult audiences. In final season rankings out Monday (Nielsen's time-shifted rankings are delayed by about two weeks), Family, already one of TV's top shows, added an average of nearly 5 million viewers in the seven days after new Wednesday episodes aired against Idol. That's the biggest gain for any series, for a total of 16.7 million viewers.

Among viewers ages 18 to 49, the comedy jumped 48% when factoring in delayed viewing, while Idol's performance show gained just 17%. But viewers rarely delay reality shows, news, awards telecasts and sports programming by more than a day. Sitcoms and dramas are most prone to procrastination, accounting for 29 of the top 30 gainers.

Nielsen says 44% of homes now have DVRs, and though the adoption rate has slowed recently, those who have the devices are using them more often. Just 47% of viewing by young-adult DVR users was live, down from 61% four years earlier. That's made delayed viewing a bigger piece of the total ratings puzzle, and left networks more patient with seemingly low-rated shows. The audience for Fox's Friday sci-fi drama Fringe, for example, surged 55% (and a stunning 73% among young adults) once viewing up to six days later was factored in.

In general, the most popular shows get the biggest net lift, while on a percentage basis, genre shows airing on low-rated Fridays got the biggest bump, along with NBC's Up All Night and Fox's canceled House and Alcatraz. "DVRs continue to play a more important role" in overall viewing, says ABC research chief Charles Kennedy, who says networks face "a battle between urgency and convenience" for viewers. Programmers want appointment viewing that demands to be seen right away, but DVRs allow folks to keep up with shows they might otherwise not see at all.

What's suffering at the hands of the DVR is old-fashioned channel surfing, in which viewers might stumble upon an obscure show or a smaller cable network. If the first option is appointment viewing, "option number two is what I have on my DVR," says Sam Armando of Chicago ad firm SMGx. Networks that depend on chance discovery "are starting to suffer a bit."

Thursday, June 07, 2012

WKYC Launches Olympic Zone Website For 2012 Summer Games

With just 49 days to go the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Channel 3 has launched a new Olympic Zone website that will keep you connected to our local athletes who are competing in this year's events.

We've got photogalleries, news and blogs, tv listings, exclusive video, polls and so much more. It's your one stop for everything Olympics 2012.

Don't forget, Channel 3, is your official Olympics station, and will sending WKYC's Chris Tye, Amanda Barren and Jennifer Lindgren to London for first hand reports, interviews and other interesting stories during the games.

Also, we'll broadcast a nightly preview show, called "Olympic Zone" that will get you ready for coverage of the Olympics in prime time, with WKYC's Jim Donovan and Dave Chudowsky, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Check out our new website right now at

The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games start on Friday, July 27th, with the Opening Ceremonies and run to Sunday, August 12th.

NBC, having broadcast every Summer Games dating back to Seoul 1988 and the past three Winter Games, holds the U.S. Olympic rights through 2020.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Promos: Perspective & Fun In The Morning

Our new on-air talent may be from out of town, but they bring you a fresh new, perspective to the Cleveland area which is on the rebound. Russ Mithcell, Kris Pickel - weeknights at 6 & 11 PM.

Channel 3 News Today gets you up and moving each and every morning:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

WKYC & SportsTime Ohio Winners of 7 Regional Emmy Awards

The 2012 NATAS Lower Great Lakes Chapter Emmy Awards were announced Saturday Night in Indianapolis, with WKYC and SportsTime Ohio earning a total of 7 Emmy Awards for 2011.

The following entries won for WKYC:

General Assignment Report - No Time Limit, "Head Start Misspending"
  • Tom Meyer, Reporter
  • Sarah Bachmann, Editor
  • Jessie Eck, Graphics
Continuing Coverage - "Hidden Hazards"
  • Tom Meyer, Reporter
  • Sarah Bachmann, Editor
  • Jessie Eck, Graphic Production Artist
Investigative Report - Series, "MetroHealth Abuse"
  • Tom Meyer, Reporter
  • Sarah Bachmann, Editor
Politics/Government - "Senator Smith Home"
  • Tom Meyer, Reporter
The following entries won for SportsTime Ohio:

Promotion - Program Image, "STO Remembers"
  •  Michael Roche, VP Marketing/New Media
  • Ty Towriss, Producer
  • Pat Kenny, Editor
  • Tim Earl, Associate Producer
  • Mitch Greenberg, Associate Producer
  • Keith Feicks, Associate Producer
  • Scott Spicer, Associate Producer
Crafts: Director - Live or Live to Tape, "Cleveland Indians Baseball"
  • Patrick Murray, Director
Crafts: Graphic Arts - Set Design, "SportsTime Ohio Hyundai Studio"
  • Greg Golya, Creative Director
  • Ian Zeigler, Designer
  • Joseph Von Enck, Designer/Animator
  • Dave Brooks, Scenic Construction Manager
Congratulations to all my colleagues. For a complete list of winners, visit the NATAS website

We also should note that WKYC received a first place award in the Ohio Associated Press Broadcaster's radio and TV contest this weekend for "Best Continuing Coverage" for "Hidden Hazards" by The Investigator Tom Meyer and editor Sarah Bachmann. And, former WKYC "Good Company" host Fred Griffith was inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Promo: Channel 3 News #1 At 11 PM

May sweeps are over and Channel 3 News at 11 pm with Kris Pickel, Russ Mitchell and Betsy Kling was Cleveland's #1 newscast in the all important money demo, adults 25-54, Monday through Sunday, despite a lackluster NBC Prime time lineup.

The weeknight 11 pm is directed by your blogger Frank Macek and produced by Amanda Subler and Caitlin Kollar.

The same was true for Channel 3 News Today beginning at 4:30 a.m. weekdays with Chris Tye, Erin Kennedy and Hollie Strano.

Thanks to all our viewers in Northeast Ohio for making Channel 3 News their first choice for news when it comes to starting and ending their day.

Click on our latest promo below to watch:

NBC's "The Biggest Loser" Casting Call Coming To Cleveland

NBC's popular reality series "The Biggest Loser" is launching a 13-city cross-country search to find new contestants for the next edition of the hit show. Individuals who have at least 85 lbs. to lose are encouraged to apply for the new season, which will air in January 2013.

Here's when and where you can audition for the show when their casting crew comes to Northeast Ohio:

10 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Cleveland South
5300 Rockside Road
Independence, OH 44131

Casting producers are looking for charismatic individuals who have the desire to change their lives forever and vie for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lose weight and compete for a grand prize of $250,000.

Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and legal residents of the United States. For those who are unable to attend a casting call, information on how to apply to the show and submit a videotape is available on and

People will not be allowed to line up prior to three hours before the start of the open call. Candidates should bring a non-returnable photo of themselves.

Alison Sweeney is the host of "The Biggest Loser," which challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000.
The series provides the contestants with challenges, temptations, weigh-ins and eliminations until the final contestant remains to claim the title of "the biggest loser." Contestants work out under the supervision of professional trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.

Season 14 auditions for individuals will be held in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Kansas City, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Dallas and San Diego

Information about casting calls in other cities can be found by clicking the links above.